William's Story

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William Rockafeller Beyer, 93, of 24 Elm St., Danville, passed away at his residence on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.

He was born July 5, 1923, in Danville, a son of the late Carl Beyer and Lorraine (Rockafeller) Beyer Manning. He married Elizabeth Josephine "Bettye" on April 12, 1945 at the Central Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Ark. They celebrated a marital union of 71 years.

William resided in Danville for most of his life and was a 1941 graduate of Danville Area High School. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Jan. 21, 1942. He trained as a glider pilot and then a fighter pilot. On Sept. 27, 1944, he became an Ace Pilot in one day (shooting down five German planes in one mission) using a Mustang E9-Y during World War II. Captain Beyer returned to the U.S. in January 1945 with nine confirmed victories and 87 combat missions. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters, and a Congressional Gold Medal.
He moved back to Danville in November 1951 and worked as an instrument mechanic at Merck & Company for 33 years.
William designed and built his own home. He was an accomplished woodworker and carpenter like his ancestors. He turned out many beautiful bowls, candlesticks, and napkin rings on a lathe. He best project was the cross above the alter in Trinity United Methodist Church, where he was a lifelong member.
He loved to hunt, fish, and collect Aladdin lamps. He enjoyed restoring a Hudson pickup truck, and Ultra van camper, and a Mercury Turnpike Cruiser.

In addition to his wife, Bettye, he is survived by two daughters, Carolyn J. Heller and her husband, Richard, of Danville, and Beverly J. Beyer, of Camden, Del.; one son, William R. "Rocky" Beyer and wife, Monica, of Danville; six grandchildren, Denise J. Heller, Alisa C. Thomas, Jeffrey S. Heller, Aaron R. Beyer, Brenda K. Web, and Marcie C. Wintersteen; and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Betty Beverly Redmann and Patricia Ann Weaver.

Friends will be received from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at the Brady Funeral Home, 320 Church St., Danville, followed by the funeral at 11, with the Rev. Ronald S. French of Trinity United Methodist Church and Rev. C. Rayvon Hilliard, officiating.
Burial will be in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Danville, at the convenience of the family.

The family will provide flowers. Memorial contributions in William's memory may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church, 306 Lombard Ave., Danville, PA 17821. Please send online condolences to BradyFuneralHome.com.
Published on August 17, 2016
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